History of Vaccines Blog

Black History Month: Mae C. Jemison, MD, Reaches for the Stars

February 28, 2019

Mae C. Jemison, MD, was the first Black woman to go into space, but that was only one of her many achievements. From a very young age, Dr. Jemison showed the aptitude for all things scientific. She entered college at age 16, graduating with a degree in chemical engineering and Afro-American studies. By the age of 25, in 1981, Dr. Jemison graduated from medical school, traveling to West Africa as a medical officer with the Peace Corps and then on to a medical practice in Los Angeles.

All Things Old Become New Again

February 26, 2019

The Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has some fantastic historical artifacts. In the Scrapbook of Anti-Vaccinations Clippings, you can find the following card from the Anti-Vaccination Society of America:

Social Media Strikes Back at Anti-Vaccine Misinformation

February 24, 2019

On February 14, 2019, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter to the CEOs of Google and Facebook asking for more action against the spread of misinformation about vaccines. In it, he wrote:

A Brief History of Measles

February 20, 2019

According to the best evidence we have, measles makes its appearance somewhere between the 11th and 12th Centuries when the measles virus diverged (separated) from the rinderpest virus (a sort of measles of cattle 

Vaccine Epidemiology, Part Four: Yes, Vaccines Work!

February 17, 2019

In this video, we talk about the evidence for vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. We know these values from experimental and observational epidemiological studies. It takes many years for a vaccine to go from idea to a product, and it takes a few more to understand its impact at the population level.

What Can We Do About Anti-Vaccine Misinformation?

February 16, 2019

In a recent interview for an online show, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked how he goes about debunking myths that are unscientific, like conspiracy theories and such. His answer was clear: he doesn’t debunk lies. As an educator, he says that his job is to establish a system of education that produces adults that do not fall for myths, lies and conspiracy theories.

Black History Month: Loney Clinton Gordon Contributes to the Development of the Vaccine Against Whooping Cough

February 10, 2019

Loney Clinton Gordon was born in Arkansas in 1915. After moving to Michigan as a young girl, Ms. Gordon attended Michigan State College and earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics and chemistry in 1939. In 1944, after a short stint trying to be a dietitian, Ms. Gordon found her place at the Michigan Department of Health’s Grand Rapids laboratory. A short time after that, she worked with Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering (two female doctors) at the Western Michigan Laboratories.

Measles Epidemic Continues and Grows in Washington State, New Cases in Houston Texas

February 6, 2019

The situation in Washington State is getting worse with respect to the measles outbreak that started there last December.

Black History Month: Onesimus Spreads Wisdom That Saves Lives of Bostonians During a Smallpox Epidemic

February 3, 2019

In the early 1700s, about a century before Edward Jenner conceived the idea of a smallpox vaccine based on the cowpox virus, smallpox was going through New England and other American Colonies. In Massachusetts, colonists there saw smallpox arrive with cargo ships to Boston over and over again. There was not much the authorities could do beyond imposing quarantines and treating the sick.

Vaccine News Roundup - February 1, 2019

February 1, 2019

“How Facebook and YouTube help spread anti-vaxxer propaganda” (The Guardian) [https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/feb/01/facebook-youtube-anti-vaccination-misinformation-social-media]